Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Call for Abstracts

Symposium on Early Career International Law Academia: Call for Abstracts

[Barrie Sander is Assistant Professor of International Justice at Leiden University – Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.]

Aspiring to an academic career has its challenges and each academic discipline has its specificities. International lawyers interested in pursuing a doctoral degree or an academic career in the field of international law face certain challenges which are general in nature, as well as more specific issues that can arise as they strive to establish themselves in the field. While each individual experience is unique and perceived distinctly, certain common features may be identified that reflect structural factors going beyond personal idiosyncrasies. These factors include hierarchies intrinsic to academic institutions, the political economy of modern universities, identity, geographical location, and language. In addition, certain practical skills can play a decisive role during the early stages of an academic career. These include preparing book proposals, applications for funding, conference participation, and academic networking.

Often these skills are passed down through informal channels of mentorship and co-operation. These networks are invaluable and irreplaceable. However, they can – and often do – reinforce pre-existing hierarchies and insider/outsider dichotomies.

With these hierarchies and dichotomies in mind, we believe that initiating a discussion in public may serve a democratising function. It is in this light that we are convening a symposium on early career international law academia, welcoming contributions that reflect on personal experiences and/or structural factors and institutional requirements.

Contributions may reflect on issues such as navigating hierarchies, identity, location, language, mental health, methodology, practical skills (funding, book proposals, PhD proposals and CVs), conferencing (abstract writing, choosing the right conference, how to deliver a talk, how to deal with questions), time management (including how to say ‘no’), academic networking (e.g., how to become part of projects), citations, and teaching for the first time (including, for example, how to balance teaching/research/admin.). Other topics/angles will also be considered.

The format of the symposium will include conventional blog posts (1,200 words ideally, 1,500 maximum), dialogues, interviews, and samples (e.g., a successful book proposal).

Those interested in contributing blog posts to the symposium are invited to send an abstract of not more than 150 words by 5 October 2021. Expressions of interest should be submitted to Dr Ntina Tzouvala ( and/or Dr Barrie Sander (

Decisions on abstracts will be delivered by 20 October 2021. The deadline for the full drafts is 30 November 2021. The symposium will be co-hosted by Opinio Juris and Afronomicslaw in the first quarter of 2022.

Symposium Organisers

Dr Srinivas Burra

Ms Julia Emtseva

Dr Barrie Sander

Dr Ntina Tzouvala

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